Massy Ferguson 'Victory & Ruins' - Spark and Shine

Naming themselves after the tractor producing company, albeit with a deliberate misspelling, seems to fit this down to earth hard working band. They’re a mix of heartland rock and roots music with touches of hard rock. All of which means there are no groundbreaking moves on display rather the music, like the band, works hard to be liked. It manages to do that with solid songwriting, singing and playing from the four-piece Washington-based band. The songs are all self-written and have echoes of a host of artists when you listen from Springsteen through the Drive-By Truckers - not a bad comparisons by any means.

On the country based number The Hard Way they are joined by fellow Washington artist Zoe Muth. Here singer and bassist Ethan Anderson shows his skill as a singer and the balance between the two make it a stand out song and album track. The track uses pedal steel, a sound which helps to emphasise its inherent country twang. The twang factor is also present on the up-tempo, harmonica fuelled Flexed-Arm Hang. Labour of Love is another up-tempo rock song that has some jangle to wave at you in Tom Petty fashion.

Massy Ferguson also show a more reflective side on Apartment Downtown, that has cello mixed with acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies to good effect. Yet it is undoubtedly their more energetic side that they are known for on this Johnny Sangster produced album. The pedal steel of Jason Kardong features again on the closing Bring Back Something, a song that has some sadness in the repeated chorus of a returning prodigal. But for some the most appropriate song may be the opening Hello!, a song that introduces you to the band’s energy and esprit.

This is the Seattle band’s fourth full-length album and they have settled into their solid groove and identity which has, doubtless, found them many fans in their home area. On the strength of this they will find fans much farther afield, as indeed that have already with gigs under their belt in such diverse places as Germany, Iceland and a couple of cities in Australia. What Massy Ferguson do is not about anything other than delivering their music to an appreciative audience - both recorded and in person. They are not likely to have dreams of international stardom, well maybe dreams, but they know the reality and what they do is make their best music. Victory & Ruins is testament that they have done just that.